Day 5 from the Pit

Some people might call me a high bottom alcoholic, but I know different. Even now, just five days in, dark images from the past are showing themselves, unbidden.

Why so soon? This process ­­— the bubbling up of raw emotion and regret —used to take some time. But given my many attempts to quit drinking, it has become condensed somehow, as if I’m running out of time to get things right. Only yesterday, something triggered a dim memory, and suddenly grief blindsided me, pulling me under so quickly that I felt a visceral seizing up in my chest. It hurt, and the thought came to me: This is why I drank.

I never feel like this while drinking. Nothing makes it through the sulfur haze that fogs my brain. It was shocking to feel again so physically, and I had no recourse but to wait for its passing.

From this dark place, I decided that blogging wouldn’t work for me. Who was I kidding? The world didn’t need another blog, at least not from me. I had nothing to offer. I had written one post and had no responses. I knew that it was unreasonable to feel this way, but it didn’t matter. It signaled failure to me, with an added twinge of rejection – something I wasn’t willing to experience. I felt like the words had been wasted, drifting out somewhere in the atmosphere, dissipating in a swirl of mist, meaningless.

I decided to delete my one embarrassing post and close down the site. Unless … unless within the hour, (I bargained with whatever angel, ghost, or deity might be listening), unless within the hour, one person responded. I would consider it a sign.

Later, walking back to my computer, I allowed myself just a wisp of hope. I snapped up the screen … and there it was.

One response. One perfect response.

Somebody out there heard me.

On Passing Sober Day 3 as a Ghost

“On the third day, he rose again from the dead ….”

― The Apostles Creed

Yesterday was the third day of my new found sobriety and believe me, I have been among the dead.

My life, while drinking, cannot really be called living. I drift through the days, hazy with fatigue, planning my next drink, or drinking it, or sleeping to recover from it. Everything else that involves living — working, interacting with friends and family, making plans — is all done through a thick layer of fog, with the images blurred and passions blunted, so that not even a memory remains. Like having one foot in the grave, I would think. My other foot just barely among the living, I notice only the most pressing of circumstances, and even then, react badly, or inappropriately, or let them go altogether, completely unresolved. Yes, it’s safe to say that I have been among the dead.

Today, however, I am on sober day 4, having floated past day 3 without wandering back to the graveyard. I should mention that I have hundreds of sober day 3’s, but never a sober day 300. This is why I must rise again to the challenge of making the choice to stay among the living, study their ways, and perhaps join the club after a 30-year stellar career in avoiding life altogether; in other words, a 30-year full-time job in drinking, and all that that implies.

I moonlight as a professional drinking quitter. Drinks are thrown out, promises are made, progress begins. But then a full moon catches my eye, and I dream longingly of the warm liquid communion of drink, that feeling of going somewhere dark and cozy, waiting for that first cold drink to do its magic. The neon lights and noisy camaraderie of a restaurant beckon to me like a long lost friend. I never see that it’s the boneyard in disguise.

So — just like water into wine, I return to being a drinker. My poison du jour is the no-longer-trendy Cosmopolitan from my heyday. At my favorite local haunts — those that make a good, strong Cosmo — the bartender or waitress will arrive at the table with a smile and ask, “Should I get your Cosmo started?” Even at lunch. Especially at lunch.

But I am getting distracted here, and I know that if I take as long to post as I do with any other writing assignment, I will quit blogging before I begin. I have to keep these short and sweet, or it’s no longer a blog. It’s more like a theses — something that you are ostensibly working on all the time for years, with no real end date in mind. (I have no personal experience in this area. I am just observing what I see in more dedicated and cerebral friends.)

Then again, my life has been like an endless thesis. But now it’s time to finish the “research” into life led by drink. No more research is necessary, or sustainable. I feel like it’s now or never, and have felt that way for some time. But will this make a difference, ultimately? I hope so.

Maybe this is my miracle.

— S.